"To achieve a balance between mining industry development and environmental conservation goals, responsible mining should be promoted, which is best done if mining companies themselves work with local universities and communities in cooperation with government,"
He added that such broad partnerships can be effective avenues where the world's most advanced and environmentally friendly technologies and processes can be transferred and made mainstream.
They can also be where meaningful, responsive research and development (R&D) can be conducted and readily disseminated, he continued.
At the same time, Angara, a Harvard-trained lawyer and chair of the House of Representatives’
Led by Caraga State University (CSU) in Butuan City, the consortium aims to deliver science-based information and alternative technologies to local mining firms to promote socially acceptable, environment-
The Department of Science and Technology and the Commission on Higher Education have allotted P52 million to fund the innovation cluster in responsible mining technologies of the Mindanao universities;
"The research can include a review of the policies on small scale mining operations to ensure that there is balance in addressing economic, environmental, cultural and social, and legal issues surrounding the mining industry," said Angara, who is a member of the Congressional Commission on Science and Technology and Engineering (COMSTE).
The representative from Aurora also called for transparency and accountability to solve mining issues in Northern Mindanao.
"We need stricter legislation that will ensure that all contractors for mineral permits and agreement shall provide information, such as methods and processes of mining, environmental and social risks to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and affected indigenous peoples, local communities and local government units," the veteran lawmaker said.
Early last year, Northern Mindanao leaders urged the MGB to recall mineral exploration permits it issued to mining firms eyeing the hinterlands of Iligan City for mineral extraction, specifically for gold and iron.
They pointed out that the tragedy wrought by Tropical Storm "Sendong" was enough warning against exploitation of the natural resources of the city.
Mining companies should participate in an innovation cluster for responsible mining where they could tap local universities and engage in technology transfer.
"The Philippines is blessed with abundant mineral deposits," Angara said. "We have to make sure that the country's mining industry spur investments and economic development without compromising environmental protection."